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Guidance counsellors better prepared to deal with trauma experience

Guidance counsellors better prepared to deal with trauma experience


Close to two dozen schools’ guidance counsellors are currently engaged in a five-day workshop geared at better preparing them to help students who have experienced trauma.

The UNICEF sponsored Return to Happiness Training Programme is being facilitated by the Ministry {{more}}of Education and is geared toward providing counsellors with information, activities and a programme plan on how to effectively offer psycho-social assistance to children between the ages of five and 12, who have been exposed to crises.

Kathleen Jeffers, the local workshop coordinator said during the programme’s opening ceremony yesterday that the participants would engage in further training, collaborative discussion and experiential learning via role-plays, group practice sessions and presentations.

She pointed out that the contents of the training manual that the participants would use include the description of the programme, its goal, policies and roles of the facilitators, information on how parents can support their children in a recovery programme, training abilities for the facilitators, assistant facilitators, coordinators, and a programme implementation schedule.

“The manual also contains information on basic helping and communication skills, as well as strategies which the participants will engage in to improve their own confidence during the post disaster period.

“The resources for this training manual have been drawn from a variety of sources, ranging from experiences of experts in the field, existing materials of the Return to Happiness Programmes, as well as partner organizations which provided similar social intervention.”

Jeffers pointed out that if used effectively, the Return to Happiness Programme can help children process their experiences in a way that facilitates recovery, while re-establishing their sense of joy, happiness, security and confidence in adult protection in a post-traumatic context.

The Return to Happiness Programme has been implemented in a number of Caribbean countries, including St Lucia, Grenada, Turks and Caicos Islands, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In St Vincent, the programme was put into operation during the flash floods of April 2011, and partially in December 2013 when a trough system affected the island.(JJ)